To be cheesy and quote from Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And that is very true for those in the media to consider. I believe it is imperative for us to consider if what we are reporting contributes to the greater good of society. However, it also means that we should document life as we see it, and if it offends at times or people read too deeply into a situation and interpret a sign to mean something that it was never intended to mean, then we must stand by our reporting and not cower to the demands of the offended few.
When I first starting playing with the idea of becoming a journalist I watched a lot of interviews with Jeremy Scahill. Scahill is one of the founders of The Intercept, an online news publication. Scahill got his start while working for Democracy Now and moved on to The Nation shortly after. While working for The Nation Scahill reported on how Blackwater, a private mercenary group, committed war crimes in Iraq. He also went on to Yemen and reported on how the Obama administration was selling weapons to the Saudis who were in turn bombing villages in Yemen (this was longggg before the current fiasco of today).
The reason why I bring Scahill up is because of his ethics. In an interview with the CBC, Scahill laid out five of his guiding principles:
- Get your facts straight
- Provide people with information they can use to make an informed decision
- Give a voice to the voiceless
- Hold those in power accountable
- Stand with the poor and the oppressed
I have used these five principles often in helping guide my reporting. I try to seek out who is being left behind in society and advocate for them in a journalistic way. I try to find the root of their problems and find the people who are offering solutions. All the while trying to highlight what the barriers are and who stands in the way.
This fits into the examples laid out in the readings Deidre provided for us in the description to this assignment. It fits into Enrique Dussel’s theory about the Ethics of Liberation.
“The ethics of liberation does not seek to be an ethics for a minority, nor only for exceptional times of conflict and revolution. It aspires instead to be an ethics for everyday life, from the perspective and in the interests of the immense majority.”